Public calls for the election of the governor-general

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St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The country’s head of state should be elected by the general public, according to some callers to WINN FM’s Voices programme.
They were at the time paying tribute to former governor Sir Probyn Inniss, who died on March 12.
The radio discussion Monday (March 20) focused on Sir Probyn and his contribution to the federation.
Those calling in seemed generally to agree that Sir Probyn was an exceptional individual and government figure.
They cited his integrity and political consciousness in public office as a model of good character.
Some of the callers stated that although the country was fortunate to have had an impartial public figure serving as governor of the country, it should not be left to the politicians to appoint an impartial person to office.
The first caller said, “That is always going to happen if the appointment of a governor is based on the advice on the council of the Prime Minister, because, as you clearly say, he is at the will of the Prime Minister, so the Prime Minister has to have the will to dispose of him whenever he wants. What we need, I think, in a post like governor, is for that person to be an independently elected person. And even when that happens you know what also going to end up happening as well too – because now it will be somebody who is elected from one of the other parties as well, but the beauty about this is that you could have the makeup where the governor could be elected which will create checks and balances, because as it is we do not really have checks and balances in the government really.”
Another caller with a similar opinion said, “I continue to make the pledge, and the move that we should have the governor elected instead of sending up the nomination to her majesty. You know why? If you have the governor elected, you will have some people independently running, you will have parties putting up members for the governor race, and when whoever wins, then the Prime Minister will not have that control over the governor and also the opposition leader because those two have to give the nod for the person to be nominated or selected by the queen for the governorship. We have to end that.”
According to one caller, the honest character of Sir Probyn was exemplified in his decision in the contested general elections of 1980, in which he voted in favor of the People’s Action Movement.
Sir Probyn is said to have felt that PAM was the rightful winner of the elections despite the governing Labour party’s insistence that it should be allowed to remain in office, and negative public reception.
“I think he was instrumental you know because the election there was not too clear cut, and I think Labour wanted to remain in office and I think they wanted him to rule in their favor. But depending how the results go, I think he ruled and PAM got into office. So in that case, what that stood out in my mind a lot, it showed the measure of the man and the integrity of the man.”
Sir Probyn also demonstrated his willingness to disagree with political agendas when he refused to sign a bill in 1981 that he thought was unconstitutional.
His strong stance on the matter resulted in him being removed from office in that same year.
Sir Probyn Inniss is being given a state funeral on Thursday with full military honour.

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